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[Nanaimo Daily Press website report, 11-25-13]

A judge on Nov. 25 tore up California's funding plans for what would be the nation's first bullet train, issuing separate orders that could force the state to spend months or years redrawing its plans for the $68-billion rail line and could choke off some of its funding.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny rejected a request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to sell $8-billion of the $10-billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008, saying there was no evidence it was "necessary and desirable" to start selling the bonds when a committee of state officials met last March.

He said the committee, which included state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, was supposed to act as "the ultimate keeper of the checkbook" for taxpayers, but instead relied on a request from the High-Speed Rail Authority to start selling bonds as sufficient evidence to proceed.

In a separate lawsuit, the judge ordered the rail authority to redo its $68-billion funding plan, a process that could take months or years, although rail authority officials say they have already started and believe it can be done more quickly than that.